Behind the bombings

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Audio Transcript:

Anchor Marco Werman speaks with Pakistani columnist Kamran Shafi about how Pakistan should move forward in the wake of today's bombings at the mosque in Rawalpindi.

MARCO WERMAN: Kamran Shafi is a columnist for Dawn, Pakistan's leading English language newspaper. He's a former officer in the Pakistani military and has friends who lost relatives in today's bombing. Kamran Shafi, today's attack was cold-blooded, ruthless. The suicide bombers disguised themselves as worshippers. What do we know about who was behind it?

KAMRAN SHAFI: These are, I've called them before, the orphans of the jihadis that America indeed and Pakistan in tandem brought together a quarter of a century ago.

WERMAN: These are extremists, basically.

SHAFI: Islamists, if you want to call them that. I think it's a bad term to use. Many people can be Muslims and not be violent at all. This is a very, very small minority, but they're a very hard, very hard conservative Islamists. They are just people out to take over the state.

WERMAN: The mosque where the bombs went off is frequented by members of the Pakistani military. Should we read the bombing as retaliation for the Pakistani Army's operations in the Swat and Waziristan regions?

SHAFI: Yes, yes we can, absolutely. But the question that begs to be answered is, how did these people get in? Where were the guards? Where were the roadblocks? There were roadblocks all over the country, allowing people who are innocent. And here they got in with Kalashnikovs and grenades. So this is a huge, huge-- to use a bad word-- a huge cock-up.

WERMAN: You're a former Pakistani military officer yourself. If you were to advise President Zardari on how to respond to this, what would you tell him?

SHAFI: Well much more than President Zardari, I would advise the chief of army staff to finally understand that they can't do this alone, that the civil authority has to be with them, that they should stop destabilizing civilian governments, as has been seen in Pakistan in all 62 years we've been around; and to understand that every institution must do its own duty and that they can get nowhere without the people of Pakistan behind them. And let me add this, after this bombing especially, where little children were blown up, the 18 year old nephew of a friend of mine was blown up, what's going on? What do 18 year old people have to do with this? We have a problem in our intelligence. We have a problem in how many of these wild people are running about this country. After what happened today, you see little children getting killed, and they are children of senior army officers. I mean, they're like my own children or grandchildren, for god's sake. And if this doesn't bring our country together, nothing ever will. But it cannot come together unless the army understands that it must once and for all give up any idea of taking over the country and running it. That is for the politicians to do, democratically elected people to do. Let it just train itself. As we saw today, the training wasn't enough, which is why these people got through. The intelligence was faulty, which was why these people got through. So can they please fix that, and let the politicians run the country and let the people vote them out if they want to?

WERMAN: The fact that these suicide bombers basically staged an explosion to get through a checkpoint, then sprang gunfire inside the mosque, does that make you worry that extremists could sooner or later get into the premises of a military facility where there are weapons or even nukes?

SHAFI: No, no. I think, despite my great criticism of the military and the intelligence services, or whatever you like, or rogue elements within them, I must say that our nukes, from whatever I've heard of how they're looked after, they're looked after extremely well. We've got very good protocols there. No, I don't think they're a danger.

WERMAN: Kamran Shafi is a columnist for Dawn, the most widely read English language newspaper in Pakistan. He's been speaking with us from Lahore. Kamran Shafi, very good to speak with you. Thanks.

SHAFI: Thank you, sir.